EFSA rejects latest sugar-free gum health claims

By Jane Byrne

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Sugar-free chewing gum, Nutrition, Xylitol, Efsa

A health claim for sugar-free chewing gum sweetened with xylitol and defence against pathogens in the middle ear and another claim for gum and dental health were rejected by EU risk assessor in its fifth batch of general function claims, released last week.

The European Food Safety Authority’s Panel on Dietetic Products, Nutrition and Allergies (NDA), while assessing the latest batch of Article 13 claims, gave a negative opinion in relation to a health claim for xylitol-sweetened chewing gum, when chewed five times a day, on acute otitis media in healthy children.

Citing the intervention studies provided on healthy children, the NDA said the evidence did not show an effect of xylitol-sweetened chewing gum on Streptococcus pneumoniae​ carrier rate.

Furthermore, found the NDA panel, no evidence of a mechanism​ by which xylitol-sweetened chewing gum could exert the claimed effect has been provided.

Gum and dental health

Assessing another health claim submitted for sugar-free chewing gum, this time incorporated with pyro- and triphosphates, and the reduction of calculus formation at sites key for dental health such as the gingival margin or between teeth, the Panel concluded that a cause and effect relationship has not been established.

No human studies were provided from which conclusions could be drawn for the scientific substantiation of the claim, argued EFSA in support of its negative opinion.

In an additional opinion, EFSA did not find causality had been determined for the use of sugar-free chewing gum with calcium phosphoryl oligosaccharides and maintenance of tooth mineralisation “over and above the well established role of sugar-free chewing gum on the maintenance of tooth mineralisation.

Fructose claim approved

The latest batch of Article 13 opinions did bring some positive developments for the confectionery industry, with the NDA experts backing a claim that fructose when replacing sucrose or glucose in foods or beverages can reduce post-prandial glycaemic responses.

Decreasing post-prandial glycaemic responses may be beneficial to individuals with, for example, impaired glucose tolerance, said EFSA.

The Panel cautions though that high intakes of fructose may lead to metabolic complications such as dyslipidaemia, insulin resistance and increased visceral adiposity.

The full opinions can be found here

Related topics: Regulation & Safety, Gum

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